The Great Blessing of the Waters on Theophany Eve renews our baptism in the waters of the Holy Spirit through Christ’s Baptism of the wisdom of uncreated fire, the wisdom of uncreated light and the wisdom of uncreated glory. The fire of wisdom purifies the heart, the flame of uncreated light illumines the mind in the heart and the tongues of uncreated glory deify the illumined in many modes, in diverse manners and with different means that elders share with saints in every generation, regenerating images with imageless superfluity. The solemn Feast of Theophany is the second of five great feasts, beginning with Christmas, followed in turn by Pascha, Ascension and Pentecost, communicating purifying fire, illumining light and deifying glory, revealing the mysteries of purification, illumination and deification. Nothing is left shut out in the darkness of desolation because nothing separates saints from God’s God-centred glorification of God in Holy Trinity. Holy Theophany turns seers back into the uncreated light of glory unveiled at centre in the midst.
Holy Theophany is God-centred revelation of God, through God, that dispels the delusion of self-centred self-obsession. Delusion is extinguished by revealing God at centre in the midst, which is the Theophany of theophanies that purifies the heart with the death and resurrection of Christ, illumining the mind in the heart with the ascension of Christ, and glorifying all who hallow the Name with the glorification of Christ. The Holy Spirit descends upon Christ at his Baptism, unveiling the Father through the Son, revealing there never was a time when the Son was not the only-begotten Son of the Father or the Spirit was not proceeding from the Father to unveil the Father’s glory through the Son. Holy Theophany is Holy Trinity both unveiling and unveiled, the Spirit’s witness to the glory of the Father in the Son, for it is the Spirit’s wisdom that sees the primordial martyrdom bearing witness to the glory of the Holy Trinity. It is the Holy Spirit that unveils Holy Orthodoxy as deifying right-glorification.
Holy Theophany renews our baptism in Christ’s Baptism of hallowing wisdom and glory, reminding us of Christ’s Baptism in the Holy Spirit which unveils his Pascha in us, his ascension within us and his Spirit’s Pentecost in our very midst. The Spirit descends upon us like a dove, as she descended upon Christ, whose dove she is when wisdom unveils her glory. The Spirit hides like a dove in the cleft of the rock, according to the Song of Songs, but is unveiled by his love of her as his beloved dove. The Spirit declares Christ is ‘Beloved of God’ at his Baptism, embracing saints as ‘beloved of God’ in theirs. Holy Theophany is revelation of the glory of love, ineffable fulness of overflowing love, unveiled beyond all reckoning. No-one is excluded from the scope of the glory of love or from the wisdom that discerns its superfluous completeness in the revelatory heart of Christ. Nothing is shut out from the gaze and kiss of Christ’s embrace in the Bridal Chamber of the Holy of Holies. But these mysteries of Theophany are not divulged to pride or profaned by vain-glory, remaining hid with Christ in the Father’s love until we are able to receive them, but when we do, they are never vacuous or vain. Holy Theophany is the glory of wisdom mercifully veiled, that she might be most generously unveiled.